7 Camping Gear Essentials for the Winter Camper

By on December 24, 2013

While the idea of winter camping brings chills down people’s spine, many enjoy the outdoors during this season due to perks which include snowflakes, hot cocoa, clear skies and less bugs. However, it is important to stay safe and comfortable while winter camping, which means that you’ll need different camping gear for the cold season. If you’re planning to camp this winter, the following seven are must-have camping gear accessories.

#1) Insulated Sleeping Bags

A sleeping bag is a vital piece of camping gear

A sleeping bag. A corner of the black sleeping pad can be seen at lower right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sleeping bags for winter are different than those you use for summer. This is because the former come with warm insulation that will keep you warm with your natural body heat. However, remember to check which temperatures the sleeping bag of your choice is designed for. For example, some bags are functional only down to forty degrees, making them useless for campsites that experience lower temperatures, even below freezing. So choose wisely.

#2) A Durable Tent

Unless you’re using a multiple-season tent, the one you use for summer may not be able to withstand the cold weather and snowy condition. What you need is a waterproof tent that will keep you dry during heavy snowfall. A winter tent should also have larger, stronger tent poles to suport the added snow weight.  This important piece of camping gear should also be easy to zip up to fully protect you.  More details on selecting a tent can be found in our earlier post How to Choose the Proper Tent to Meet Your Outdoor Needs

#3) Insulated Thermos

Most campers don’t realize the importance of insulated thermos bottles. However, they are an important part of winter camping gear, especially if you plan on hiking during the day. Without a bottle in your backpack, you can forget about hot coffee or chocolate shots to warm your insides whenever the cold tries seeping in. To get the best value for your money, invest in a stainless steel thermos that is leakproof. Also make sure that it can store as much hot liquid as you may need on your trip.

#4) Multiple Layers

In addition to camping gear, layers of clothing are a must during winter camping trips. You will need typical long underwear to keep you warm but not overheated. Next, you should have mid-layer clothing, such as a hoodie, made of wool, down or warm materials. Finally, to protect your body from the elements, you need a shell that is either waterproof or water-resistant depending on where you’re camping.  As appealing as cotton may be, it’s not always the best choice for winter camping apparel.  If and when cotton gets wet, it’s going to loose the ability to keep you warm.

#5) Neck and Face Warmers

The Train Frontiersman

The Train Frontiersman (Photo credit: spablab)

You need to have neck and face warmers in your camping gear this winter. Sure, jackets do a great job in keeping you warm, but there are days when the cold can be unbearable to the sensitive skin of your face and, God forbid, a runny nose. Besides, if the winter in your campsite comes with cold winds, warmers will be a blessing and a good reason not to head home too soon.  A hooded sweatshirt can help to greatly keep your neck warm since some of the warmth from you body will come up through the hood.

#6) Snowshoes

If you’re a fan of hiking, warm boots won’t be enough. You will need a practical pair of trail snowshoes. Just make sure that they stay securely and comfortably on your feet. So try them before you buy them and see how well they absorb the stress you put on them.

#7) Winter Stove

Winter stoves are an important piece of camping gear since you’ll need a stove that can handle the cold climate and allow you to cook with ease. However, choose a suitable size that can fit in your gear and accommodate the hungry stomachs you bring with you on the trip.  A wind break can often be improvised on the spot, but it may be advisable to pack some foil with the stove to act as a wind break if no other materials are available.

There are more items you can add to this list, but these are the most important to include in your camping gear. So make sure to have them on you the next time you plan a winter camping trip.

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